HC Deb 27 July 1967 vol 751 cc258-9W
Mr. Pym

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is now in a position to make a full statement about the crash of a Canberra aircraft at Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire, on 17th April.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

The inquiry proceedings have now been completed. Unfortunately the board of inquiry could not establish beyond reasonable doubt the cause of the accident. A thorough examination has produced no evidence of any mechanical malfunction before the crash, or fatigue or other failure. The impact damage was such that prior malfunction cannot be ruled out, nor can the possibility of a human error in handling the aircraft be entirely discounted. But any explanation of what happened can only be conjectural. Consequently the board were unable to allocate responsibility for the accident.

As regards the risks associated with the presence of training airfields, a comparison has shown that accident rates at the two training airfields in Cambridgeshire are well below the average for the R.A.F. as a whole.